Stowe, VT 10APR2011
The boys have been talking about skiing Starr for a couple of weeks now, and with the healthy snowpack and softening conditions, this was certainly the weekend to hit it from the top. We met Stephen and his family at the Spruce Peak base in the late morning, and to get the ball rolling we headed right over to Mansfield on the Over Easy. The only other skiing request we had was from Johannes who was looking for some half pipe time, so we were all heading in the right direction to meet everyone’s demands.
We used Cliff Trail to get us heading in the Gondola direction, and explorations off piste in “The Middle of Nowhere”/”Macaroni & Cheese” revealed that the snow was sticky at times, but for the most part turns were smooth and fun. Even on piste though, the snow was stickier off to the sides of the trail or areas that hadn’t seen traffic.
Meeting up with some friends at the base of the quad, we opted to first ski intermediate options down to the half pipe so that everyone could spend a run together. Most of the group went through the pipe, hitting the walls to varying degrees depending on how they felt. It was my second or third run through the pipe for the season, so I was starting to get more comfortable with the height and angle of the walls.
After that, the boys all had their shot at Starr from the top. The views from the start of Starr were stupendous where the trail seems to drop away steeply into nothingness, and with the great spring snow, Johannes, Ty, and Dylan all handled it with ease and had lots of fun. It’s great falling away with gravity on each turn in those steep sections.
We stopped at the Octagon for some mid afternoon lunch, and ran into Claire, who let us know that she had picked up some Bolton passes on Saturday after her great experience there – she says that she really loves the Bolton Valley vibe and she’s preaching to the choir as far as I’m concerned. Hopefully we’ll get to see a lot of her and Luke next season and we can introduce them to all the off piste options and that awesome Bolton Valley powder.
Stephen caught back up with us while we ate, and the post lunch plan was Goat from the top. Like Starr, we wanted to get that top while the getting’ was good. Stephen was a little worn out to try Upper Goat, and since Dylan had done most of Goat on a previous occasion, he wanted something else as well. The two of them decided to take it a bit easier with a Lift Line run, but little did Stephen know, Dylan decided to take him on a “short cut” to Lift Line… Upper Lift Line. Of course the irony of the situation is that the top very top of Lift Line is so narrow and steep that Stephen might just as well have headed down Upper Goat anyway! Stephen managed to get through it, although the funniest part of the whole situation was how people cruising above on the lift were admonishing him for bring someone as little as Dylan on such a difficult trail, when it was in fact Dylan that brought Stephen on the trail, and Dylan that was easily handling the terrain, putting Stephen through the torture of getting himself down it with big skis and tired legs. It was a pretty hilarious situation.
We finished off the day with another round of half pipe, and everyone seemed a little more comfortable with it. These spring days are nice when the pipe is a little softer, even if the tops of the walls still look like solid ice. Despite the deep snowpack, Stowe plans for next weekend to be their last; I hear they are very anxious to get on with the installation of the new quad chair.